procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

arguing for aesthetics

when i look at the world, fickle as i am, i'm able to see beauty in many places.

  • Max Weber sat in a skyscraper, looking down at the goings-on in a city, and was awe-struck.
  • in seeing the film angels and insects i now recognise the appropriate fascination we can have with the insect kingdoms.
  • the subtitle of Dr Strangelove was How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and the testimony of many who have had the honour to witness the detonation of an atomic bomb, is that it is indeed awe-inspiring.
  • the Grand Canyon (depending on who you believe) may have been the result of the erosion of a massive lake.
  • the landscape of lebanon is astounding in its sparseness (even though the cedars are no more)
  • the growth of a tumor, seen in time-lapse photography, is also a beautiful thing.

there is a short story by Herman Hesse (from which i hope to post at some stage) which explains how, even when dying, mostly due to the effects of this fallen world, we can still see immense beauty.

whether this is due to:
  1. / there being inherent beauty in these things, despite many of them being a result of the fall
  2. 2/ us being created with the ability to see good in all things, as God is sovereign over all and his good flows over into all things
  3. 3/ our fallen nature meaning that we are able to see good in what God calls ugly

i've been swinging between the three, but would be interested in your thoughts.

particularly check out byron's blog, particularly the comments.
also see my previous thoughts on aesthetics

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Blogger Car-o-line said...

It's too late to make any truly meaningful comment... so I'm going to say...

I think it's a mixture of all three. That may sound stupid but I don't think that you can really just pick one.

12:30 am  
Blogger Mark said...

From a human perspective, I think the "beauty" of creation is actually heightened by its fallen nature. Beauty is not permanent. It is ephemeral. It withers and fades (Is 40:6-8). And therefore is "beautiful" to us, because it's beauty is so rare and fleeting.

Nevertheless, from God's perspective, creation is ugly and frustrated; enslaved to decay, groaning like a mother in childbirth and waiting for Jesus to set it aright (Rom 8:19-22).

When Jesus returns we will see creation in its true, unblemished beauty. And we'll realise how little we actually understood of true beauty.

3:39 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

car-o-line - it's never too late to make a omment on my blog; if meaning was a pre-requisite to blogging, there would be very few pages with very few posts.

mark - although that sounds like a fait accompli, it also sounds too easy.
that we can see beauty in the ephemeral things surely does not detract from them being beautiful (c/f the plastic bag scene in american beauty), rather demonstrates their beauty is of a certain kind.

2:11 pm  

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